Chandigarh to stop Midday Meals from three centralized kitchens from April 2020

CHANDIGARH: After almost 15 years, UT education department is all set to discontinue serving of Midday meals from three centralized kitchens and make use of seven existing and eight upcoming school-based MDM kitchens for the same. Eight new school-based kitchens are under construction and expected to start from next academic session, authorities have confirmed.

MDM is served to around 45,000 students studying government schools, government aided schools and Madrasas in UT Chandigarh.

As per sources, last year the centralized kitchen had asked for an increase in the amount paid for per student meal. Following the demand, the rate was increased by the department in July 2019 on a condition that these will make MDM only till March 2020. Therefore, from April 2020, beginning of new academic session school based cluster kitchens will prepare meals for all schools.

Also, according to Director school education Rubinderjit Singh Brar the decision has been taken after repeated findings that the students loved the food made in school-based kitchen more than the one’s coming from centralized Kitchens. Quality has always been an issue in the MDM being served from these kitchens, officials said.

“There was a study as well and as per the report students preferred food from school-based kitchens. So the plan is to start more school based centralized kitchens and stop MDM from three centralized kitchens,” Brar said.

The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP-NSPE)
popularly known as Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme aimed to cover all students in
classes (I-VIII) in government, government aided schools and Madrasas. The MDM
scheme began in 1995 with dry meals in the form of fruit bread, baked porridge, raw
wheat, rice and sweet/salted Mathis. In January 2006, the scheme was converted to
provide cooked meals on a trial basis. Subsequently this scheme was extended to
government, government aided schools and Madrasas. The objective of the
Programme is to give a boost to Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) by
increasing Enrolment, attendance, retention and simultaneously improving the
nutritional status of children in elementary classes.

As per the plan, the new school-based kitchens will serve Midday meal to three or more schools in the neighborhood. The move is also expected to increase the number of children taking Midday meal in UT Chandigarh.

The centralized kitchens have been serving meal to children studying in more than 80 government schools. While around 35 to 38 schools are covered by centralized school based. However, 100% students who are eligible for MDM do not take it in UT as they prefer bringing their own tiffin’s, authorities shared. Ministry of Human resource and development (MHRD) had last year as well asked UT to make efforts to ensure 100% coverage of students under MDM scheme.

TOI had reported earlier that the schools where kitchens are being constructed are Government Model Senior Secondary School in sector 20 B, 40B, Dhanas and Government model high school in Karsan, Raipur Kalan (New building), Pocket No 10 Manimajra, sector 29 and sector 12.

Besides centralized kitchens Mid-day meal Kitchens are there in seven government schools. These schools include Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Times Market in sector 26, GMSSS-10, GMSSS-15, GMSSS-44, GMSSS-47, Government Model High School(GMHS)-38 and GMHS 42. In 2017 these were turned into cluster kitchen and have started catering to three to four surrounding schools as well.

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Vijendra Choudhary


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